In the winter of 1993 Frank Hintz drove to Harpers Ferry, WV with the first ever American Backcountry tee shirt designs in the back of his car. Frank walked into the headquarters of the Appalachian Trail Conference's headquarters and cold called ATC's man of many hats Brian King. All of our hopes and dreams for a successful new business were hanging in the balance. Brian told us he would try some of the new designs and also suggested we consider going to Damascus, VA the following spring to test our product by setting up a booth at the annual Appalachian Trail Day's festival. We did.
We talked with many weary thru-hikers, sold a lot of shirts and learned even more about why we set out to burn our corporate suits and venture into a business that spoke to our true nature.
In 1995 we moved from those “AT Shirt guys” to the next level by listening to one of our early customers Peter Crane at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. Frank climbed Mount Washington in less than attractive conditions and then cleaned up in the Backpackers Sanctuary room in the Observatory (where the hikers can recover without scaring the tourists). He then met with Peter who told us he wanted a shirt with a topographic map and a list of Mount Washington’s popular hiking trails on the back. We listened to Peter and have been listening to our customers ever since. Since then we have become the vendor of choice to many of America’s leading Outdoor Retailers, National Park Concessions and Boy Scouts of America groups by developing Destination Specific Tee shirts for folks across the country.
In 2001 we became the first company of our kind to specialize in printing graphics on Moisture Wicking tee shirts. From there we emerged as the company who jumped on new print technologies to offer our customers the best garments and printing methods available. We were first to market a line of graphics to the Outdoor Industry that used Sublimation and Direct to Garment technologies. In 2004 we began the manufacture of our own American Backcountry moisture wicking tee shirts and since then have continued to build on our extensive catalog of graphics that appeal to a wide variety of people.
At American Backcountry we have always done things the hard way. Other Tee shirt companies slap a “namedrop” on a picture of any old mountain and expect their customers to be satisfied. We always go the extra mile. We think our customers appreciate the difference between “any old mountain” and the mountain they just climbed.